Autumn is advancing here in the Cape, bringing thoughts of heartier breakfasts to keep out the cold. Chatting recently with my friend Selina, she introduced me to a concept that was new to me, ‘brinner’: a combination of breakfast and dinner. Unlike brunch, which is a merger between breakfast and lunch, to be eaten any time between mid-morning and early afternoon, brinner is about breakfast dishes which can also be eaten at dinner time. The concept itself is nothing new- who, after all, has never had an omelette for dinner? But the idea of giving a name to it is interesting.
During this conversation, Selina, who is from a Jewish community in London, shared with me several recipes she had acquired from family and friends, a couple of which fitted the brinner concept very neatly. Eggs feature strongly in all three recipes, as they do for cooked breakfasts generally, but these dishes can be eaten at any time, and are a refreshing take on familiar dishes.
(Original recipe here)
Shakshouka (or Chakchouka) is a super popular North African dish that travelled to Israel with immigrants from the Maghreb. Now featured on just about every Israeli café menu, Shakshouka makes a tasty breakfast alternative to the usual egg dishes and also a spicy, satisfying supper, the juices mopped up with focaccia or pitta bread, and with as much chilli heat as you want!
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion, peeled and chopped
- 3 to 5 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into strips
- 2 to 3 jalapeños, or one red birds eye chilli, stemmed, seeded, and finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon salt or more to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- Two 14-ounce (400 grams) cans of diced or crushed tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 4 to 6 eggs at room temperature
- Optional for garnish: Fresh cilantro or parsley and crumbled Feta cheese.
- In a wide skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the chopped onion, garlic, bell pepper, and jalapeños, and cook for 5 minutes, until soft and fragrant.
- Season with salt, pepper, and paprika. Cook for at least 5 minutes until the veggies are tender.
- Add the tomato paste, canned tomatoes, and sugar, and bring them to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes break down and the sauce thickens slightly for about 15 to 20 minutes.
- Taste the sauce and adjust the flavours; add salt and pepper if needed. If you find Shakshuka too acidic add 1 to 2 teaspoons of sugar.
- Remove the skillet from the heat. Using a spoon, make 4 to 6 wells in the sauce. Carefully crack an egg into each well, then spoon a bit of the sauce over each egg white. Cook for 7 to 15 minutes until the eggs are cooked to your liking.
- Sprinkle with cilantro and feta cheese. Serve hot with pita or bread.
- Tomatoes: Fresh ripened tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, canned whole peeled tomatoes, canned fire-roasted tomatoes.
- Bell peppers: Green, yellow, orange.
- Other vegetables that make great additions: mushrooms, spinach, zucchini, and eggplant.
- Spices: Ground cumin, smoked paprika, ground coriander.
- For heat: Harissa paste, cayenne pepper, chili flakes, Tabasco Habanero
- For garnish: Shredded mozzarella cheese, crumbled goat cheese.
Bauernfrühstück (Farmer’s breakfast)
(original recipe here)
This is a recipe from Germany that makes a substantial meal for breakfast, or a satisfying dinner/supper. In Germany, ham/bacon would be used, but for non-pork eaters, cooked chicken or beef sausage, or for vegetarians, a meat substitute will work. Or just omit the meat altogether and add another vegetable, such as aubergine or mushrooms. A sprinkling of smoked paprika or a dash of soy sauce will give an umami flavour. You could also add grated cheese (Cheddar/Gouda/Emmental).
Bauernfrühstück (Farmer’s breakfast) is a cross between the English bubble and squeak and an omelette. It is usually accompanied by a tomato salad or pickles. An urban Berlin version is called “Hoppelpoppel”.
3 large potatoes, peeled and quartered lengthwise
3 tbsp olive oil
2 cups roughly chopped green and white onions (include the greens from the green onions) or leeks
2 cups roughly chopped bell peppers
1-2 cups chopped ham/bacon or other meat/meat substitute
1/4 cup chopped parsley and/or chives
4 eggs, whisked
salt and pepper to taste
- Boil the potatoes in a saucepan of lightly salted water for 10-15 minutes until just cooked (test for doneness). Drain, rinse with cold water to cool. Cut into 1-inch squares. Set aside.
- Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large skillet on medium high heat. Add the onions and chopped bell peppers (and other vegetables if using). Increase the heat to high. Brown the vegetables, stirring frequently, about 2-3 minutes.
- Push the vegetables to the side of the pan, add the potatoes and another tbsp of olive oil to the pan. Brown the potatoes for about 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Sprinkle on salt and pepper to taste as you cook. Add the meat to the potatoes and cook, stirring frequently until the meat is heated through, 1-2 minutes.
- Mix all of the vegetables, potato and meat together and mix in the parsley. Add the eggs, (and cheese, if used) stirring to distribute the eggs among the vegetables and meat. As soon as eggs begin to firm up, remove from heat and serve.
This was one of Selina’s mum’s favourite light meals or snacks, and can be eaten at any time of the day. Her friend, Irit, has the perfect recipe to those eating-the contents-of-the-fridge days.
This uses a couple of ingredients which may be unfamiliar to non-Jewish readers, so we’ve provided alternatives that can be easily substituted.
- 3-4 potatoes
- 1 onion
- 1 bunch of parsley
- 1 tbsp of stock
- 1 tsp of cumin
- 1 tsp of matzah meal (substitute panko breadcrumbs or crushed crackers/crispbread)
- Salt and pepper
- 4-5 eggs
- Boil the potatoes into submission and mash the hell out of them
- Dice the onion (swimming goggles optional)
- Chop up a tiny sheaf of parsley
- Beat up the eggs, add the seasoning, potatoes, onion and parsley in and pour in a spoonful of stock (make it a big spoon)
- Take a tablespoon and use it to mould the mixture into as-even-as-you-can-get patties
- Slide cautiously into a pan of hot oil and fry until golden
Eat it cold standing at the kitchen counter after you’ve made it. Accompany with amba (substitute mango chutney) or sweet chilli sauce. Alternatively serve the patties as part of a bigger meal with a side salad or roasted winter vegetables and/or meat.